Amending our School Constitution

Ryann Allen

Is the amendment process really worth it?

 

Not every school has a constitution, but Copper Hills does. With the constitution comes an amendment process, and in the last eight years Copper Hills High has only seen two amendments finalized. Why is that?

The amendment process of Copper Hill’s constitution can be simplified into five stages. Article X of the CHHS Constitution starts by stating, “An amendment…Must be submitted for consideration to the Student Government,” this leads to presenting the proposed amendment to the student government and it’s advisor. The next step is for the Student Government to vote on it. If 2/3rds of the Student Government vote in favor, it can move on to another vote. The faculty and administration take a vote on the amendment, and if the majority approves, then it moves on to the student body. If the majority of the student body approve, then the amendment is adopted and put into effect in one week. 

Amendments don’t always make it to the adoption stage. If a proposed amendment is voted against at any point in the process, it is considered defeated. The CHHS Constitution states, “A defeated amendment shall not be resubmitted for at least sixty days after its defeat.” When this occurs it is expected that, should it be resubmitted, the proposed amendment will need to be revised for resubmission, but that is not formally stated. 

Another thing about amendment proposals is that if it fails at any point, like when the Student Government or the faculty vote, it is not mentioned to the student body in a public manner. Because of this fact, the failure rate of proposed amendments is not common knowledge.

According to Mr. Adamson, the Student Government advisor for eight years and counting, the only two amendments made during his advisory – added positions to student government. “The first was to add an ambassador position for each class….I believe it gives more of a representation to our student body,” he says. The second one added a class Alumni officer, who assists with planning and technology related to things such as their graduating year’s reunions. Adding a new position to student government is a fairly major amendment to make, but amendments don’t always have to be major.

A great example of a minor amendment would be the naming of our school’s newspaper. Around 2012-2013, the CHHS school newspaper was revived as a club and referred to as The Grizzly Growl. When it became officially printed around 2013-2014, The Grizzly Growl adviser, Mr. Haslam, received an email from the former student government advisor Mr. Randall, informing him that Copper Hill’s school newspaper had a different name in the CHHS constitution. They could not continue publishing under the name The Grizzly Growl. Upon looking in the school’s constitution, Mr. Haslam found that the listed name was The Grizzly Gazette. The newspaper staff preferred The Grizzly Growl so the proposed amendment was passed on to the Student Government, and the rest is history.

As fun as it is to talk about the past, what about the future? Should we have more defined information regarding what it takes to be a part of the student body office? In article VI, it uses the term “unbecoming of a leader.” What does this mean for an sbo/class officer in terms of possible probation or other consequences? Since this phrase could mean something different to a teacher than it does to the student body, should it be defined? Is there any language that needs an update? Even something as minor as the pronouns being changed to they rather than he/she could be a meaningful change. 

What changes would students like to see in the way Copper Hills approaches things? If there’s something you find in the constitution that you feel should be changed, or even something concerning the student body you don’t like, why not write your own amendment and submit it to The Student Government?